FTSE 100 preview: Index seen steady as resource prices firm

on Feb 9, 2017

The UK benchmark index looks set to open higher this morning, finding support in stronger resource prices. HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) will be in focus on the corporate front today amid reports that the Asia-focused bank is eyeing acquisitions of wealth management assets this year.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the day 0.06 percent higher at 7,193 points. The blue-chip index is likely to take cues from Asia where stocks have gained ground this morning on the back of stronger oil and gold prices. In the US, shares closed mixed last night as investors digested the latest movements in oil.
“We’ve had pretty steady oil prices for a while, but we’ve gotten some volatility recently,” Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, told CNBC.

The Footsie closed little changed yesterday, adding 2.60 points to end the session 0.04 percent higher at 7,188.82, dragged down by resource stocks. BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) was the biggest blue-chip faller in percentage terms, shedding 3.38 percent to 1,341.50p.
Today’s macroeconomic calendar includes Germany’s trade balance for December, due out at 07:00 GMT. On the corporate front, Smith & Nephew (LON:SN) will update investors on its full-year performance. In other news, Bloomberg reports that HSBC is planning to pursue deals to expand in asset and wealth management as it seeks to capitalise on the growing funds of the middle class in Asia and diversify its business away from traditional lending.
Blue-chip companies, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include The Sage Group (LON:SGE) and Unilever (LON:ULVR). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will take 1.72 points off the FTSE 100.

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